Astros ride 9-run 8th, trim magic number to 5

Altuve's homer caps frame after Angels rally in top of the inning

September 23rd, 2018

HOUSTON -- The Astros' biggest inning of the season, a nine-run uprising in the eighth, may have left the Minute Maid Park crowd in near disbelief. But it's just a testament to the caliber of their lineup
In erasing a four-run deficit, Houston struck quick and furiously to stun the Angels in a 10-5 victory on Saturday night. With the win, the first-place Astros trimmed their magic number for an American League West title to five, while the A's rallied for a 3-2 walk-off win over the Twins to stay 3 1/2 games back in the division race.
The Angels had spoiled 's superb 11-strikeout start -- he allowed just one hit over six scoreless innings -- by getting to the Houston bullpen, rallying for five runs in the top of the eighth.

"Not a lot went right in the top of the eighth," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "That was as ugly an inning as we've had, and probably the bottom of the eighth was as good an inning as we've had. We had a lot of quality at-bats."
"I went from going to a low to a high," said Verlander, who leads the AL with a career-high 280 strikeouts.
, who later hit a two-run homer to cap the nine-run outburst, led off the eighth with a walk to jumpstart the Astros' rally.
From there, walked and Yuli Gurriel, who had three hits, singled. and Evan Gattis hit RBI singles to pull the Astros within 5-4.
"The momentum just kept building with every baserunner," said Gattis, who drove in Houston's first run with a fourth-inning single. "Then, you've looked up and we've gone through the lineup. Everybody knows we're not ever out of games. It's just good to see it."

A throwing error by third baseman off a ball hit by pinch-hitter allowed and to score the tying and go-ahead runs.
"I was just trying to get to first base as fast as possible," White said. "I knew we needed a run. We got the job done and got the runs in. Everybody just tried to pass it on to the next guy. We got a lot of guys on base and ended up scoring a lot of runs."
added a two-run single and Altuve's 13th home run, which brought in Springer, was more than enough insurance runs for , who threw a clean ninth inning.
Gurriel, who had two home runs and a career-high seven RBIs on Friday, extended his hitting streak to eight games and is 14-for-32 on the homestand.

The Angels have now allowed double-digit runs in each of the last four games. 's 38th home run, a go-ahead three-run jack in the eighth, was his third in as many games.
With its 15 strikeouts on Saturday, the Astros' pitching staff set a Major League single-season record with 1,615 strikeouts, eclipsing the previous mark of 1,614 by the Indians in 2017. Earlier, Verlander helped Houston set an MLB record for most strikeouts in a season by a club's starters with 1,069 to eclipse the Tribe's mark of 1,066, also set in '17. More >

The win pushed Houston (97-57) to 40 games above .500, a mark the Astros have reached in only one other season (1998).
"We all see the scoreboard, and every game is worth a ton right now." -- Hinch, on the AL West race
Astros right-hander Charlie Morton (15-3, 3.15 ERA), who started the club's home opener in April, gets the ball for the final regular-season home game against the Angels at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday. Morton, who will be making his 29th start, is five strikeouts shy of 200 on the season. The Halos counter with lefty (8-8, 3.69 ERA).